The Chrome Credit Card by Vanquis is a relatively low APR, credit builder card that can help people with bad credit to rebuild their credit rating. Despite the Chrome card being Vanquis's lowest APR credit card, we recommend trying to pay your full balance each month to avoid interest charges, or at least paying as much as you can afford. While the Chrome's interest rate is lower than most other credit builder cards, it is still higher than average and interest charges can build up if you carry a balance from month to month.
Chrome Credit Card Review
The Chrome Credit Card by Vanquis can be a great tool for those who are new to credit or have had some problems in the past and now want to build or rebuild their credit rating. By showing you can manage a credit card sensibly (e.g., paying on time and staying under the credit limit), a cardholder's credit score should improve over time.
The Chrome card offers features such as Contactless (for transactions up to £30) and 24/7 full service online banking, plus the eVanquis apps for iPhone and Android let you access your account at all times from your phone or tablet.
The Chrome is the lowest APR card on offer by Vanquis, charging a representative variable APR of 29.3%—around 10% lower than the Vanquis Classic Visa and a touch lower than the Aquis. However, as a credit builder card the interest is still high enough to rack up significant interest charges should you carry a balance from month to month. Therefore, it's best to pay off as much of the balance as possible each month.
As a new customer you'll start with an "easy-to-manage" credit limit between £250 and £1,000. By showing good account management you could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and every 5 months after that, up to a maximum limit of £4,000.
You can apply to the Vanquis Chrome via mobile, tablet or PC. Unfortunately, the QuickCheck eligibility check is not available on this card. A pre-application eligibility check is useful to see the likelihood of being accepted before submitting an application, to help you avoid applying for a card (which triggers a hard credit check) when you'll be denied (which could make it even harder to get credit in the future).
Chrome Credit Card Benefits & Features
|Chrome Credit Card Features|
|Initial Credit Limit||Between £250 and £1,000|
|Credit Limit Increases||Subject to good account management (e.g., by staying within your credit limit and making at least your minimum payment on time), you may be eligible for credit limit increases every fifth month up to £4,000|
|Transaction Fees||Non-sterling transaction fees of 2.99%|
|Cash Withdrawal Fee||3% or £3, whichever is greater|
Chrome Interest Rate (APR): At least 51% of applicants will receive the representative Chrome purchase APR of 29.3%. The other 49% of applicants may receive a higher interest rate, anywhere from 29.3% up to 59.9%. Cash rates are typically higher, starting at 49.9% variable APR and going up to 69.9%.
Chrome Credit Limits and Credit Increase: Your credit limit on a Chrome credit card will fall between £250 and £1,000, depending on your financial situation and credit history. With good account management like paying on time and staying within your limit, the credit limit on your account may increase over time—specifically, you may qualify for an increase after your 5th statement and then further increases every 5 months up to a maximum of £4,000.
While some cardholders find a higher credit limit can be useful for purchasing power and a possibly improving their credit score, a higher credit limit is not always desirable. For example, if you're on a strict budget and would rather not have the temptation of a higher limit you can reject the increase or even request that Vanquis lower your limit. Vanquis might deny a request to lower your limit, however, if they believe that you would exceed a lower credit limit. Exceeding the credit limit would result in default fees and may harm your credit score, potentially making it more difficult to get credit in the future.
Withdrawing Cash with a Chrome Credit Card: You can withdraw cash with the Chrome card for a 3% (£3 min) fee per transaction. Getting foreign cash from an ATM abroad incurs a further 2.99% non-sterling fee (more on that below). Withdrawing cash using a credit card is expensive and we don't generally recommend it for three reasons:
- Cash interest rates are higher than purchase rates
- Interest on cash withdrawals is charged immediately (there is no grace period)
- Each cash withdrawal incurs a fee of 3% of the transaction (minimum £3)
Using Chrome Abroad: The Chrome card can be used abroad, with transactions incurring a 2.99% non-sterling fee when you withdraw foreign cash from an ATM, paying for a restaurant or hotel in a local currency, etc. This fee is typical on all but special travel cards.
In addition to the non-sterling FX fee, any foreign cash withdrawals from an ATM abroad would incur an additional 3% (£3 minimum) cash withdrawal fee—this cash fee is charged in addition to the 2.99% non-sterling fee. Not only do you incur these fees but interest is charged immediately on cash withdrawals—generally speaking, using a credit card is an expensive way to get travel cash.
|Type of Non-Sterling Transaction Abroad||Fees|
|Foreign Cash Withdrawals||3% (£3 min) + 2.99%|
|Foreign Credit Card Transactions (e.g., purchases, paying for a meal at a restaurant, etc.)||2.99%|
Minimum Monthly Payments: To give you a general idea of what to expect to pay each month, the minimum monthly payment is calculated as the highest of:
- 1. 4.5% of the balance owing on your Account as at the statement date plus any amount by which your Account is in arrears; or
- 2. Any interest/minimum finance charge, default charges and any account maintenance fees added to your Account since your last statement plus any arrears due on your Account plus 2.3% of the remaining balance; or
- 3. £5.
If you don't make any more purchases on your card, the minimum monthly payment will drop over time (as the balance falls) until it hits the £5 minimum payment floor. As we discussed in our article Here's How the Minimum Payment Floor on Your Credit Card Could Cost You Hundreds of Pounds, paying only the £5 minimum payment floor can prove quite costly over the long term in terms of interest charges. In fact, in the example below, a cardholder paying only the minimum amount each month would delay paying off their debt by 5 years and incur around £150 more in total interest charges over the years, versus a cardholder who consistently pays £50 per month.
Cost of Borrowing with Chrome
|Illustrative example: For a purchase of £250 on your credit card|
|Monthly Payment||Minimum Payment each month||£50 each month|
|Without taking into account any introductory rates, how much interest will you be charged in the first year?||£58||£20|
|How much interest will you be charged in the second year?||£44||£0|
|How long would it take to clear the balance?||5 years, 7 months||7 months|
The above example assumes the following: The transaction takes place on 1st January and you make no further transactions. Your statement is produced on the 1st of each month and you always make the payment each month on the 15th. Your statement is produced 31 days after you make the purchase.
Bottom Line: If you are new to credit or had some problems in the past, you may still be eligible for Vanquis's lowest APR credit card. Get the most out of the card by always paying on time and staying within the credit limit to try to improve your credit history. And pay as much as you possibly can each month to limit interest charges.
How does the Chrome Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
To better understand the value of the Chrome Credit Card you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We compared this card to other rewards cards so you can see which may be more suitable for you.
Chrome vs Marbles Credit Card
The Marbles card is a credit builder card for those with a very limited credit history, or poor credit. Even individuals with CCJs or bankruptcy in their past will be considered. The Marbles card representative APR is 34.9%.
Quick Takeaway: The Marbles card has a higher representative APR, but on either card we'd recommend paying off the full balance each month if you can.
Chrome vs Aqua Classic Credit Card
Aqua's most popular card, the Classic, will consider those with poor credit, including the self-employed, people who've paid late in the past and those with low income. Initial credit limits run between £250 and £1,200, with a representative APR of 35.95%. Responsible management of your account (i.e., making payments on time and staying within the credit limit) can lead to credit limit increases, which can in turn improve your credit rating.
Quick Takeaway: The Aqua Classic might charge a slightly higher APR, but has the advantage of a pre-application eligibility checker to see the likelihood of being accepted before you apply—potentially helping you avoid an unnecessary hard credit check and rejected application.
Chrome vs Vanquis Classic Credit Card
Vanquis's Classic credit card, the Classic, will consider applicants with no credit history, poor credit history or are unemployed. Initial credit limits are lower, between £150 and £1,000, with a representative APR of 39.9%. Potential applicants can use the pre-application eligibility checker to see their likelihood of being accepted before they apply (useful to help avoid an unnecessary hard credit check and a rejected application).
Quick Takeaway: You're likely to pay a higher interest rate with the Vanquis Classic, but you may be more likely to be accepted by the Classic if you have a worse credit rating; also, you may be attracted by the Classic's eligibility checker too see the likelihood of being accepted before you apply.